Are you a professional services business? A lawyer? An accountant? An architect? An engineer? It’s time to shake things up. 2016 has, for me, been the year when the billable hour has died. It’s the year that my entire view on selling has shifted and it all comes down to something so simple… What do people want?
Well, people want results. People want products. These are outcomes.
Most of the time, they don’t give that much care or consideration to how these results or outputs were obtained. They don’t care how long they took, who was involved or what systems were used. These things are all inputs.
So why have we been selling our inputs instead of our outcomes?
I read a fantastic article on LinkedIn that went into the science of the death of the billable hour, so I thought I'd break it down into something more practical for my readers.
When I worked in a marketing agency a few years ago, our fee proposals had a final cost breakdown and it was outlined as this.
Junior Marketing Consultant – 10 hours - $100 = $1,000 + GST
Senior Marketing Consultant – 10 hours - $200 = $2,000 + GST
Our clients and potential clients knew how many of our hours, our inputs, they were getting but they didn’t have a clear picture of exactly what outcomes they were getting. It was somewhere in the initial preamble but in essence, that structure made it difficult to buy from us. Why? Because they weren’t clear about what they were buying.
These days, a standard fee proposal from myself will look something like this…
Stage One: Marketing Plan = $1,000 + GST
Stage Two: Newsletter template = $500 + GST
Stage Three: Monthly newsletter content = $500 + GST
When a client reads that, they know exactly what they’re getting. They know exactly what they’re getting for their dollar spend. They know the expected outcomes.
So when you know what you’re getting, if it’s priced correctly and if there’s a strong relationship between yourself and the client, it’s pretty hard for them to say no and that makes selling your services easy!
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at another business who has done a great job of selling outcomes, not inputs. H&R Block Tax Accountants.
They’ve been running for over 60 years and have completed more than 650 million tax returns worldwide! That’s a pretty amazing feat and one they’ve worked hard for. But as someone who used them in the past, I can tell you exactly why I hired them for my tax accounting. Because they sold me an outcome, not and input. Their marketing didn’t say, “Buy us! We’re only $80 + GST per hour!” it said, “A Tax Return for $80 + GST? That’s what you get when you work with us!”
It’s that simple messaging, just simply selling an outcome, not and input that made it so easy to say yes to them.
So when you’re rethinking your 2017 marketing and selling strategies, think about what outcomes you actually give your clients and focus on selling those, not your inputs.